Not all teeth are straight, and this can be a perfectly natural outcome of growing. When kids' milk teeth fall out, the adult ones they get may become misaligned with one another for all sorts of reasons. Even in later life, overcrowded teeth can mean that some push onto others, which makes them either turn or overlap one another. If you have felt your wisdom teeth starting to come through at the back of your jaws, then this may also cause previously straight teeth to become misaligned. What can you do if you want to improve the appearance of teeth which are not as straight as you'd like them to be?
Most people will have seen teenagers wearing a sort of orthodontic equipment on their teeth known as braces. Essentially, metal braces are a series of brackets which are glued onto the patient's teeth. They are then linked together with a wire which runs through a slot on the outside of each of the brackets. As a dentist tightens the wire, the teeth are pushed or pulled into a better alignment. Braces can be worn for a few months or a couple of years before they are removed. No damage to the surface of the teeth is caused by the braces or the glue, so when the device is taken off, the teeth are left looking perfectly natural and straightened.
In some cases, an orthodontist will use external headgear to apply greater pressure on a tooth or series of teeth. This means that results can often occur more rapidly than with braces alone, although it is obviously more noticeable that a patient is undergoing treatment. Functional appliances like headgear tend to be used in only the most severe cases when hard-to-reach molars need to be repositioned for medical reasons or when overcrowded teeth have caused significant problems.
An aligner is a sort of device which can be taken in and out of the mouth by a patient without the need for a professional. Individually tailored, they are recommended by dentists to straighten the outward-facing teeth, incisors and canines. Clear ones, which are made by companies like Invisalign, resemble mouth guards, and they can be worn night and day without being noticeable at all. Essentially, these devices are used to correct teeth which are not straight for cosmetic reasons. However, they are highly effective at what they do. They will even work if a patient already has veneers fitted to their teeth.